ITALY QUESTION/ 1 Month in Italy

Old Aug 31st, 2022, 08:25 PM
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ITALY QUESTION/ 1 Month in Italy

HI All! Planning a one month stay in Italy May 2023. Been to Rome, Florence, Venice, Amalfi Coast and Capri. If you had a month to spend in Italy where would you go? We would prefer to stay in one city (or split it up to 2 max) to really get a feel for Italian life and culture, with the opportunity to do some day trips. The Puglia region is a possibility as we’ve never been. Our interests are sightseeing, food, cooking classes, museums, beach. Would love to hear your suggestions!
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 09:23 PM
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I would go to Sicily. You could stay in two different areas and really explore the whole island. I haven't been to Puglia so can't really comment about that area but I loved Sicily and wished I had more time to see more.
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 09:56 PM
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Definitely Sicily!
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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 12:25 AM
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If you don't end up with Sicily, we've liked Umbria and enjoy both the hill towns and Perugia. One possible combo is Sicily with Puglia.
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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 03:51 AM
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Bologna
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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 08:09 AM
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Another vote for Umbria, but a month on Sicily is probably the best way to really explore the island. Not many people have the luxury of a month.
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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 06:54 PM
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Bologna/Florence for a northern stay and Naples/Sicily for the south.
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 06:11 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions! Much appreciated.
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Old Sep 13th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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For food and wine you can't beat Bologna and Torino. Great day trips by train from both, too. But neither of those tick the beach box.
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Old Sep 13th, 2022, 03:02 PM
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Lecce old town might be interesting or even one of the smaller towns around.

Lots of cooking and yoga deals around and for a month a flat or B&B with a roof terrace might be great.

I'd want a town not somewhere in the country.

Do you speak Italian, if not you might want somewhere a bit more international touristy. Maybe outside the centre of Florence, the town's around Bologna etc.
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Old Sep 18th, 2022, 12:31 PM
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We combined Puglia( ten days) with Sicily( 2 and a half weeks). We flew Bari to Palermo on Volotea which saved a lot of time and hassles.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Lecce old town might be interesting or even one of the smaller towns around.

Lots of cooking and yoga deals around and for a month a flat or B&B with a roof terrace might be great.

I'd want a town not somewhere in the country.

Do you speak Italian, if not you might want somewhere a bit more international touristy. Maybe outside the centre of Florence, the town's around Bologna etc.
My Italian is passable. Thank you so much for your suggestions!
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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 12:19 AM
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Lecce old town is a nice warren of stone structures with a few large plaza including Roman ruins. A nice vibe and in May not buried in tourists. Like most Puglian places the surrounding sprawl can be not so nice, but Lecce has managed to actually have a pleasant modern city round it. Train links work and the long distance coach station works as well.

Bari and Brindisi are the other two big places I might look at but are more transient places and I'd not stay there for a month. Taranto has an ancient island that is Gritty like Naples while the modern town is shiny and a bit meh.

There are smaller towns which are attractive, again with lovely pearls inside a oyster of modern uck, I've been to most of them except those in the deep south. What are your thoughts?

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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 07:04 AM
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Really, anywhere, but you were drawn to Puglia so I'll chime in on that area. I agree Lecce would be great--for me, for the first half of May because it has a lot of indoor attractions. Because it is not a crazy busy time of year, you could let your day trips help you suss out where you might want to be for the second half of the month--for me, it would be somewhere on the coast (sea will be warm by end of May).
Are you open to car rental? With one, it's wide open (would not be needed for the entire month, but for the second half in a smaller town would be nice). Monopoli would be nice. For somewhere interior, maybe Martina Franca--large enough for two weeks, but close to lots of cute villages.
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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 07:37 AM
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Just back from 8 days Puglia and 12 days Sicily. We are beach people also.
We loved Cefalu, it is a "real" town with historic center, train access to Palermo, and a great beach scene. We day tripped for a food tour in Palermo. Wish we could have stayed longer than the three nights we allotted for that town. We also stayed in Scicli, which is about 30 minutes from the beach. Another "real" town - what I mean is that it's both historic yet full of every day life. The beach there was not as enticing, but we only spent one day exploring the beaches, since there were so many nearby villages to check out.
Puglia was beautiful, vast, think cliffs and beaches and historic areas. Very little English spoken. But that didn't stop anyone from trying to communicate, especially the shop keepers, they were so helpful and kind.
If I had to choose (what a delicious decision!) I'd choose Sicily, with half Cefalu and half Scicli. The air bnb we stayed in Scicli was amazing, very affordable and full of homey touches.
You will have a car, yes?
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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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Martina Franca is a good option IMO, just a bit small but well positioned
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 06:48 AM
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Hi Kaybee. I thought I’d weigh in on a couple of the previous suggestions. I need to mention we’re happy just relaxing without the need to be doing some sort of specific activity every day. We’re content wandering around with no specific plan or purpose, stopping for a snack or beverage when something catches our eye. For us, staying in one location for a month requires an apartment, I would be climbing the walls if I were confined to a hotel. Eating out every day would flatten our wallets and fatten our waistlines, so cooking in the apartment, even if it involves some prepared foods, is a must. For all my suggestions, staying in the old city is the way to go, it’s too hectic and less attractive in the newer, bigger and more modern part of any of these cities.

Sicily would make my short list. We spent February 2017 in Palermo and thoroughly enjoyed it. We took a handful of day trips to nearby areas by train or bus. We were lucky with good weather, and from a quick glance online it looks like May is usually quite pleasant.

Another top choice for us would be Bologna, for the city itself and for the proximity to other area towns worth exploring by train. The food is wonderful, much of it inexpensive, and the city has a great feel. We spent two weeks there in 2018 and it was on our list of possibilities for September 2022 but didn’t make the final cut.

You said you’ve been to Rome, but if you’d consider returning, it’s another good choice. We spent March of 2017 there (right after Palermo), and it was one of the more active choices for us simply because there really is so much to see and do. Most days we had a destination in mind rather than just wandering, and we practically wore out the soles of our shoes walking here and there. Rome is my favorite city in Europe, we’ve been there a number of times, always staying in Trastevere not far from the river.

Last month we were in Modena, which we chose because of the location, the weather and because of a language school I wanted to attend. My husband held down the fort running the daily errands and such while I attended class, so we didn’t get bored, but if it weren’t for the school I think a month there would have been too long.

Right now we’re in the middle of a month in Alba, it’s truffle season. There are lots of food and wine centric towns a short drive away, and the weekends are absolutely crazy with crowds and activities during the truffle fair. That would not be true in May. It’s a pretty laid back, small old city area so I’d only recommend Alba if you would enjoy driving to the neighboring towns. You can get to some by train, but I think a car is essential here. We’ve been here twice before, two weeks each time.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 09:20 AM
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I'm hoping to spend a month, or at least a couple of weeks, in Naples some day. There are a great many Roman sites besides Pompeii and Herculaneum in the area. I haven't been to Sicily yet, but that would probably be my second choice.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 02:23 PM
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I saw Bologna, and of course my heart melted, but to tell the truth I couldn't spend a month there. It's absolutely the crown of Italian culture (food in particular) as far as I'm concerned, but if you were stationed in one spot, and wanted to breathe free and easy, I kind of think Ferrara might be more ease-of-being friendly. Bologna is fabulous, and vibrant, but it has a lot of busy city streets, some city intensity, and a touch of claustrophobia.

As Ferrara goes, it's a real short train to Bologna (half an hour, so it's basically a short commute), if you want to also bathe in Bologna. Also a direct line to Ravenna, and south to Rimini (we're talking serious beach); also an hour to Padua/Venice.

It's best to do Ferrara, though, if you are happy riding a bike every day (to take you around town as all the locals do, and to local restaurants, and also to the train station, though the busses work great for the train station too).

Just consider this as one idea, because Umbria, and others mentioned are also each a virtual dream come true.
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Old Oct 18th, 2022, 12:12 AM
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Ferrara is a nice combo of a cycling city, a walled city, a city in the Po valley, a market city and with most of the modern city not being too bad and mainly only on one side of the old city. Good train connections.
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